Don't Buy An iPod

Using an mp3 player has HUGE advantages
for all music students.

You can use them to play backings (available from this site);
or use them as a metronome or drum machine.

Regretfully, the people at Apple have done a great job promoting the iPod as the best mp3 player.


In Stephens humble opinion, 
you are much better off buying an iriver.



The iriver (especially the X20) is far more flexible, powerful, and future-proof. It also offers better sound quality via support of the OGG format.

And it's not just my opinion. The Australian Consumer Associations "Choice" Magazine recently gave the i-Pod one of its notorious Shonky Awards, for poor quality and warranty issues.

But the bigger concern is features. 

If you want to use an mp3 player as a drum machine or metronome, you'll need speakers.
The iriver includes these as standard; the Apple does not.

Wouldn't it by nice to transfer files via a standard mSD Flash Card? Or add extra memory the same way?
With the iriver you can, with the iPod you can't.

What about easy file transfer using a standard USB cable?
iriver yes; iPod...

What about recording your performance directly form your keyboard or digital piano?
The iriver has a line-in exactly for this purpose, the iPod doesn't.

Eventually the rechargeable battery will fail 
(they often last 2 to 3 years).
The iriver allows the owner to simply push a tab and change the battery. Some other units require a service...

Want to be able to play audio or video files from 
Windows Media Player? 
The iriver supports Windows Media format, and files can be transferred directly from within Media Player (or with the iriver Plus 3 software included). iPod doesn't support Windows Media formats.


Compare on these charts:

  iriver X20 iPod Nano
Speakers Built-In YES NO
Windows Media Audio YES NO
Windows Media Video YES NO
OGG Vorbis Audio YES NO
Voice Recorder YES NO
micro SD Expansion Slot YES NO
Standard USB Cable Connection YES NO
User Exchange Rechargeable Battery YES NO
Choice Magazine SHONKY Award NO YES
RETAIL APPROX (4GB) $174 $197


  iriver T60 iPod Shuffle
Picture Viewer YES NO
Windows Media Audio YES NO
OGG Vorbis Audio YES NO
Alarm Clock YES NO
Standard USB Cable Connection YES NO
Voice Recorder YES NO

And sound quality: OGG is recognized as the best format.
Don't take our word for it...

Hydrogen Audio - Vorbis

Hydrogen Audio Multi-Format Listening Tests

Roberto Amorims' Multi-Format Public Listening Test Results

Sebastians Multi-Format Listening Tests

I believe that it is important to note that Ogg Vorbis is the ONLY open-source format
 in all the above tests. 

MP3 is owned by Thompson-Fraunhofer; AAC by a consortium; 
and Windows Media by Microsoft.

As such, all these other formats require royalties and licensing, which restricts your freedoms under the Copyright Act. Further, many of these companies (especially Microsoft) pursue radical programs (such as DRM, or Digital Rights Management) which can deny you the ability to play legal files under certain circumstances.

AAC (Apple) suffers in that it isn't one format. It includes AAC-LC (Low Complexity); AAC-HE (High Efficiency); AAC-PS; AAC-SSR etc. They can also be MPEG-2 or MPEG-4 streams. All this chaos is then further wrapped in an MP4 container.

The result of this mess is that most portable players will 
ONLY play the lowest quality version of AAC (AAC-LC, or Low Complexity).


Therefore... You're better off with an iriver!



Specification Links

iriver T60

iriver X20

The Choice Magazine 2006 Shonky Awards

The information on the charts is taken from the web sites listed above. 
If there are any errors, please contact us and we will rectify the situation immediately.


Free Music in OGG Format for iriver

Vorbis Music Links



Software that supports the iriver and OGG

Exact Audio Copy
A brilliant free CD Ripper with OGG support

Nero Plugins
For those that use Nero, get the OGG and FLAC plugins here

XPad Ogg Drop - The Easy OGG Encoder

The Ultimate Audio Player for Windows

KM Player Site 1 Site 2
The Best Multimedia Player for Windows



Timetable & Vacancies

We teach morning, after-school and evening classes.
Please call on
4751-6196 for an appointment.


Legal Stuff

This site was designed & programmed by S.A.Walter, 
and is 2007 Stephens Music & Computers / S.A.Walter.

The use of images, text, music scores, backings or acrobat files 
without permission is illegal.

Material noted as 'free to download' cannot be used for
commercial purposes, or by other music teachers (write your own!).

See our legal page for more details

This web page was created on 20 November 2007
Last updated 20 November 2007